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We were around our fire at Tower Hill State Park. I was getting so sick of the hero treatment. I was almost wishing I didn’t save him. The story started on a sandbar…
I was on a kayak trip with my dads side of the family. After spending the night on a sandbar in the middle of the Wisconsin River just over a mile down stream from the boat launch, we were just about ready to head on down to Tower Hill State Park. It was too windy.
“New plan, were going to go back up river to the launch so we don’t have to fight the wind,” Doll, my aunt, explained to us, “but we’ll be fighting the current.”
My dad took the motor boat, and his kayak, to the launch to drop off most of our stuff so we wouldn’t need to pack it all in the kayaks. When he was gone we packed the rest of the stuff into our kayaks and the one that was not being used, the SS Liz, witch was packed full of stuff.
When my dad got back we started to get into our kayaks. My dad came up to me as I was about to launch, and said, "Your going to ride in the boat with me and Grandma, okay?"
I was stuned, why sould I ride in the boat? "WHAT?! Why?"
"There are two foot waves at one point, I'm afraid you'll tip or something," he explained.
I really, really didn't want to ride in the boat with my dad and grandma, but I had no choice, "Ugh, fine. What are we going to do with the USS Sky Rush?"
"We'll tie it to the back of the boat with the Liz and tow it behind us," my dad told me.
Just then Mike came up to us with Gaian, the four-year-old he and Jessica were babysitting for the weekend. "Can Guy ride in the boat with you?" he asked.
"Sure, it'll be Grandma, Gaian, Megan, and me," said my dad.
After we tied the Liz and Sky Rush to the motor boat, Doll told my dad that the boat sould go first so if one of the kayaks or canoes tipped or needed to be towed, we could help them out.
So that's how it went. My dad was in the back stearing the boat, Gaian and I were in the middle, and Grandma was in the front. As we hit waves water splashed onto us, we were all having good fun untill we got to the point my dad had been talking about with the two foot waves. One of the bigger waves came over the bow and drenched Grandma.
Time seemed to freeze as I realized what was about to happen.
"We're sinking," I said as more and more water came over the front of the boat. I think I must have scared Gaian, because he started to cry. What were we going to do? Would the boat sink to the bottom with all our stuff and leave us flooting in the middle of the river?
"Yeah," My dad noted as he tried going faster to get the bow above the water, but we were already swamped. "Stay in the boat as long as possible and head for shore!"
No one was about to disobay this order, so we all started to paddle to shore.
Suddenly another wave came and tipped the boat over. Now I was starting to get angry, why must the wind be so difficult? Couldn't it have just let us go with the orriganal plan? Aparently not.
I had been holding a stuffed bear that was on my kayak, so I handed the soaking thing to Gaian, who was crying even harder now saying, "We're going to die! I don't wanna die!"
Another wave. I suddenly was under the water unable to breathe, hear, or see. When I came up I gasped, and pulled Gaian closer to me. I'm about three feet taller than him, if I went under, he must have.
I heard my dads voice, what was he saying? "What?" I asked.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I said.
"Do you think it would be better if we put Gaian back in the boat?"
"Uh-huh," gasped Gaian.
"'Kay, Megan, help," my dad orderd. No chance of saying no.
Gaian continued panicing, "I don't want to die!"
"We're going to be fine, your not going to die," I said in as sothing of a voice as possible when your talking to a frightend four-year-old sitting in a swamped boat. "your alright, do you trust me?"
More screaming, but a nod.
Okay, now what? I've got an idea!
"I'll be back, don't worry. I've got an idea, to get us to shore," I said to Gaian as he began to freak out more when he saw I was leaving him.
He nodded again. Grandma took my place in trying to sooth him, but his eyes never left me.
"What are you doing? Where are you going?" my dad asked in a paniky voice.
"Don't worry," I said again, "I've got a plan. If I pull the kayaks the boat has to follow."
I figured that the kayaks would be easier to pull while swimming, but their still atached to the boat.
"Alright," Dad didn't look like he followed my train of thought.
I started to pull the kayak to shore.
The boat was facing the same way I was headed, if I kept pulling, it'd tip again.
"Turn the boat around," I shouted to my dad.
He looked at me like I was nuts, he definetly didn't see my thought prosses.
Thankfully, without hesitating too long, he did what I told him to do.
We had been in the river for atleast twenty minitus now, and hardly moved at all.
Well, no. We were going down stream with the curent, in the opposit direction we were suposed to be going. To top, there was a very foresty island in the middle of the river, and we were on the wrong side of it.
I was, suprisingly, not getting tired.
Must be the adrenalin rush.
"We're going to die! I don't want to die!" I heard Gaian wail.
"Shh, shh, shh," Grandma's failed atempts to calm him.
Finaly, sand between my toes. I never thought I'd be happy to get tiny sharp peices of rock stuck on my feet!
"I can touch bottom here!" I yelled exidedly.
My dad relaxed visably.
I kept pulling the kayaks and the boat along with it, untill I heard the grinding sound of sand agenst the bottom of a hunk of plastic. I walked as fast as possible back to the others.
"Can you carry Gaian to shore, please?" Dad asked me.
"Oh, yeah," I replied. Gaian was way ahead of him, he already had is arms wraped around my neck in a strangle hold.
As I carried him back, he was yelling, "Don't put me down! I'll never go in that boat again!"
Mike and Jessica must have heard his voice, because just as I was about to put Gaian down, they turned round the island.
Mike jumped out of the canoe to help my dad get the water out of the boat, and Gaian ran into Jessica's arms.
"What happend?" she asked.
I sat and put my head in my hands and shook my head. I couldn't think, too much fuzz, or... err... water.
My adrenalin rush was going away. I realized how bad the situation could have been.
I was scared.
Mensah then turned the corner in the USS Party.
"What's going on?" he asked Jess, who shurged, and turned to me.
I went trough the story.
Doll and Betty in Big Red, our double kayak, came next. They helped Mike and my dad pump out water. Grandma explained to them what happened.
Ekwe was next. Comeing in the SS Hulk, he was right behind Big Red. He too helped with getting the water out of the boat.
Object: Boat, Status: empty.
Now, does the motor work?
"Just so you know, I'm kayaking the rest of the way," I told my dad stubernly, no way would he argue with that tone.
No, no you can't argue. Can you?
"I guess you have the right to paddle the rest of the way," he agreed hesitently.
We got reready to leave. I was back in my comfort zone, the USS Sky Rush. Gaian was back in his, Mike and Jessica's canoe.
Because we were going with the wind I could just ride the waves. I barly needed to paddle!
A few hours later when we were at our camp site at Tower Hill State Park, everyone was saying stuff like, "Good thing Megan was there," and "I don't know what you would have done if Megan wasn't there," and "How does it feel to have saved a life?"
It felt like I wanted to be left alone.
Telling the story was kind of fun but then everyone's, like, "Wow you saved a life, what would they have done with out you?"
"It was nothing, really," I kept telling them.
"Your just being modest,"
I hated the hero treatment.
My dad kept telling me about how calm I was and that he was really proud of me. He must have been telling people how great I was or something, because I didn't make my self out to be as much of a hero as people seemed to think I was.
It was awefull. I mean I guess I was a hero but it was really getting on my nerves.
"You were really brave.You didn't even seem scared. I'm proud of you," My dad said to me as we were sitting around the fire that night.
Everyone agreed with him.
"Courage is NOT being fearless, but knowing that something is more important than your own fear," I quoted. Because of the shipwreck this quote is my favorit.
I learned a few things that day.
First, always were your lifejacket not just have it in the boat, it can fill up fast.
Second, you don't have to be fearless to be a hero, that doing the right thing comes before your own personal fears.
And third, never listen to your dad when he says ride in the motor boat instead of your kayak when it's windy!